Meritocracy is a universal law. It exists everywhere and pervades all life. The universe rewards those puts in enough hard work and take responsibility for themselves. Everyone has equal access and equal chance* under this law. There are people born in the worst circumstances, yet succeed on their terms through pure time and effort. While we can attribute some success to luck, it is their actions that increased the surface area for such luck to occur.
Yet today, when we talk about meritocracy, we talk about institutional meritocracy. The system developed by society to replicate meritocracy with clear standards to the public. We created schools and awarded children based on how well they performed in school.
However, that's not true meritocracy. Is it a bad thing? No, It's great actually. It's a catalyst for those who have the innate/trained capacity to excel in school. But it becomes a problem when we recognise it as the only path of meritocracy, and indoctrinate our children to believe so as well. There are those born with incredible IQ, memory, excessive resources or those with an innate passion for exactly what we force our children to learn in school. These children "excel" particularly well in school, and we say they're the role models.
What about others? Others who are gifted in ways that schools didn't or can't reward? Many students are left with a crazy potential untapped because our schools didn't have the right curriculum or resources to help develop them. While it is their responsibility to find it and unlock their own potential, we as a society should be aiding everyone in this process. Why help one group and not the other?
There are difficulties to this, however. Every individual is unique. Differently wired brains, different talents and different passions. There are infinite combinations, infinite definitions of success, and infinite pathways. How can we possibly help everyone? By dividing institutional meritocracy by 0.
Either we remove schools, or we build a better system that enables infinite pathways. We may have to rely on personal responsibility of the masses even more, as we won't be able to force them to develop themselves. But we can offer every possible opportunity that currently exists for them to do so. This provides a more "equal" chance. What's next is equal access.
How can we enable equal access? Right now, information on developmental opportunities are way too decentralised. They are clustered amongst communities who are fortunate enough to find one another. These tribes help and mentor each another to develop their passions/skills further. But others don't know these tribes exist. We'll need to centralise these sources of information into one place. These tribes can remain separate, with their own identity. But they'll have to be known. We have to help others find their place in the right tribes for them.